The Sabbath is here, and it has now been a week now since the devastating windy rains blew off the roof to their church building. But with no alternative to it, believers at Ngodzi Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Salima still flock to the beleaguered structure for their prayers.
The church is located about 300 meters at Mpitilira Turn Off, just before Ngodzi Trading Centre along the Salima-Balaka road.
That just a week before they had their church service curtailed midway due to the rain storm that caused havoc around the area seem not to be in their memory again. The faithful rejoice in their choruses and hymns; praising their Maker in everything.
One just had to see the beaming confidence on their faces; so inspiring!
This, despite their muddy feet; either collected from the rains that had been falling in the run up to the Sabbath, or the floor that continues to be pounded by the rains falling almost on daily basis.
The church was built with un-burnt bricks, with clay smeared on the ground to act as a ‘cemented’ floor. The seats too, are made of mounds of bricks, ‘plastered’ by the same clay.
The Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services predicts heavy rains to continue until end of March, at least. Holding all factors constant, this shall mean more possible damage to the church, homes and their fields where most of the community members get their livelihood.
Still, they came for worship. Their determination to honour the day is as strong as ever. ”Thus saith the Lord” remains the zeal behind their resolve.
“Actually, it’s a relatively new church. I have been congregating there for my first two years before I moved to Chipoka [SDA church], said Yamikani Dzanja, a communications’ secretary at the latter.
Nevertheless, Church Elder John Mateka casts a dejected figure as the sunsets on Sabbath, signaling the end of the worship service.
“We have tried all we could; this is the best we can muster as a church but if we had a choice, we could have easily opted for a new church building altogether.”
We need more help, and urgent help for that matter. We just can’t afford to see the labour invested here to reap more souls wasted.” Mateka said.
And it doesn’t help to note that the area is surrounded my Moslems. Word has it that the community keeps the calls coming to have the land confiscated from the church. It is not welcome there among the Chituwire, Manda and Madiyericommunities; so they say.
But truth has never been popular, or has it? The global church has been full of such adverse encounters. Still it triumphs. But the congregants have a reason for concern on this one case.
The church elder bears it all: “Of course there is also a need to lease the land, otherwise people around may get what they wanted by taking over this land should nothing happens very urgently.”
They are no more than twenty active believers there but their strength lies in their togetherness. The faith from this is what has driven the church to make strides in reaching out to the community in various ways.
Such strength led to the maintenance of the church roof; and that damaged house of their Literature Evangelist to the extent that he has since returned ‘home’. He is now back in the house following the congregation’s collective efforts to have it maintained. But the scars of the rain storm remain.
So far, they have some burnt bricks ready. Only moral and some material support needed.
The keep the faith and hence sounding the calls louder each day!